I am a Nebraska born farm gal. I grew up on a diversified farm just a couple miles from where my husband and I currently manage the farm that he grew up on in southeast Nebraska. We were high school sweethearts, went to UNL together, and both graduated with bachelor’s degrees in agricultural economics. We raised three wonderful children and are grandparents to six, with one more on the way in 2020. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities in my professional career to get to know and assist Nebraskans in varied ways. During the 1980’s, back on the family farm as young farmers ourselves, I was employed by Nebraska Extension, serving as a farm business consultant for the Nebraska Farm Business Association (NFBA). I worked closely with about sixty farm operations in southeast Nebraska, helping them analyze their whole farm finances, prepare enterprise analysis, then estimating and preparing their income taxes. During this time, I was also on the Managing for Tomorrow team, a special extension program that assisted farm families with financial planning during the 80’s farm crisis.
After leaving NFBA, my experiences include teaching in the agribusiness management program and serving several years as a project director at Southeast Community College (SCC). During this time, I completed a master’s degree from UNL and then led the start of the staff development program at SCC. After that and during a seventeen-year span, my employment included direct work with start-up and small businesses, assisting them with business planning and micro-loans, including volunteering on a board to start and later direct a local economic development program. For a couple of years during this time, I truly enjoyed and gained a great deal professionally through the awesome experience of serving as a senior community affairs advisor for the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank – Omaha Branch.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I am an Associate Extension Educator and Farm and Ranch Management Analyst, with a campus-based appointment, serving statewide in the Department of Agricultural Economics. I work with crop and livestock budgets, and oversee the biennial custom rates survey, which is a very popular Nebraska Extension publication.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
As an UNL agricultural economics alumni and prior work connection to Nebraska Extension and in so many ways a Husker fan, it is a great honor to be back serving the state’s farmers and ranchers in the capacity I now have.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I value education and feel blessed with the opportunities my education experiences have provided me. I love engaging with students and colleagues who have the same passion that I have in continuous learning and in striving to understand the world around us and how our lives can be enhanced through research and education.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Overall, I believe the information and business assistance I have either directly or indirectly provided to hundreds of Nebraskans, gives me great satisfaction. While I’ve lost count on exact numbers, I believe I have positively influenced, either through coaching, counseling, and/or loaning to, nearly three-hundred businesses across Nebraska. As part of my work with small and micro businesses, I led the start-up and initial success of the REAP Women’s Business Center in Nebraska, receiving a national award in 2005.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in 1999 and went through a series of treatments and surgeries. Since then, I’ve been cancer free and very blessed to be able to continue my work and career in good health.
What is your life like outside of work?
I assist in management of our farm business, including a pure-bred poultry operation. Especially when we are at full production, I’m often weekend help with barn duties and gathering eggs. We are under an egg laying contract with the Hy-Line International location in Iowa. Our eggs are hatched in Iowa and then shipped all around the country and internationally. We truly play a part in feeding the world!
I love the outdoors and activities such as growing flowers, gardening, golfing, and as a sports spectator, now primarily keeping up with our grandchildren. Plus, I’m a Husker fan too! We enjoy tailgating on Husker gamedays with a fun circle of friends.